Front view of the East Gateway of the Great Stupa before restoration, Sanchi, Bhopal State
Photographer: Beglar, Joseph David
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the east gateway of the Great Stupa of Sanchi before restoration, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections taken by Joseph David Beglar in the1870s. The Stupa of Sanchi is the most important surviving monument of the Shunga era (c.185-75 BC). It consists of a large hemispherical dome which was built over an already existing stupa ascribed to the 3rd Century BC from the time of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka Maurya. Four elaborately carved gateways were added to the stupa during the 1st Century BC. When General Taylor came across the stupa in 1818, the southern and western gateways were lying in pieces on the floor and the northern and eastern ones were unstable. By 1883 they were rebuilt and secured. The Eastern gateway consists of two square posts crowned with a group of four elephants which support a triple architrave with scrolled ends completely covered of sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Buddha.